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Driving Without Due Care and Attention

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Drivers on UK roads are held to certain standards. Failing to uphold these standards by driving without due care and attention can potentially land you in hot water.

But what does driving without due care and attention actually mean? And what is the penalty for driving without due care and attention? We discuss these issues and more in the following article.

While we hope this information is useful, please note, it should not be taken as legal advice. If you need legal support with motoring offences such as allegations of driving without due care and attention, then please get in touch and our team can advise you.

What constitutes driving without due care and attention?

A person is to be regarded as driving without due care and attention when the standard of their driving is deemed to have fallen below what would be normally expected of a competent and careful driver. It also involves the act of driving without having reasonable consideration for other road users.

There are various potential examples of driving without due care and attention. These include:

  • Driving too closely to another vehicle
  • Being distracted inside the vehicle (adjusting a radio, lighting a cigarette etc.)
  • Misusing lanes
  • Turning into the path of another vehicle
  • Mistakenly driving through a red light
  • Flashing lights to force others to give way
  • Unnecessarily staying in an overtaking lane

Driving without due care and attention is also referred to as careless driving.

When does careless driving become dangerous driving?

The lines between what is considered to be driving without due care and attention and dangerous driving can become somewhat blurred.

Dangerous driving occurs when someone’s standard of driving falls far below what is expected of a competent and careful driver. 

Is driving without due care and attention a criminal offence?

Driving without due care and attention is considered to be a criminal offence under Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

What happens if you get charged for driving without due care and attention?

If you are charged with driving without due care and attention, you could be liable to face a range of penalties. Driving without due care and attention sentencing in the UK is outlined by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The punishment for driving without due care and attention will typically include a fine and penalty points on your license. In many cases, driving without due care and attention will result in a fixed-penalty notice (FPN) being handed out, which will usually result in three penalty points being added to your license alongside a £100 fine. Note that FPNs can vary.

If you have been charged with causing death by careless driving, the potential sentences are much more serious.

This offence can not only result in the loss of your license, but also up to 5 years’ imprisonment.

How long do the police have to prosecute for driving without due care and attention?

As driving without due care and attention is a summary-only offence (can only be heard in the Magistrates’ Court) the charge must be laid by the police within 6 calendar months of the date that the offence allegedly took place.

How long does driving without due care and attention stay on your license?

Any points accrued on your driving license for driving without due care and attention will remain there for four years from the date of the offence.

Credit for guilty plea

In short, where a guilty plea is indicated at the first stage of proceedings for a driving without due care and attention charge, you could receive a reduction from 1/3 of a penalty.

More information regarding the potential outcomes for indicating a guilty plea can be found here.

What should I do if I’m being accused of driving without due care and attention?

Being accused of driving without due care and attention can be an extremely daunting prospect, particularly as it could potentially lead to the loss of your license after amassing too many penalty points. In the case of causing death by careless driving, you could also face imprisonment.

Where you have sufficient grounds to contest a driving without due care and attention charge, our expert motoring solicitors will be on hand to support you. We understand what is required to build a strong defence and what steps will be required to secure a positive outcome. This could mean having charges dropped altogether, or minimised where conviction is unavoidable.

We are highly skilled at collecting and presenting the various types of evidence that are relied on in these types of cases. As such, we will be able to clearly identify any flaws in the case against you and make sure that the evidence which supports your case is clearly presented.

We have over 45 years of experience in dealing with criminal law matters and have also been accredited by the Law Society for Criminal Litigation. We have a strong track record of success and have been able to build strong relationships with many of the country’s leading criminal defence barristers.

If you are facing a charge for driving without due care and attention, we are here to provide you with the support you need.

Related matters:

We also provide support and guidance on various matters that are related to driving without due care and attention, including:

Our related cases

Fees and funding

No matter your circumstances, we will always be sure to be clear and transparent about the fees that may be involved in your case.

If you need to attend court in relation to a driving without due care and attention charge, legal aid public funding may become available. Whether or not this is the case will depend on whether the grant of public funding is justified.

Where you do not qualify for legal aid public funding, the alternative option is to fund the case on a private basis.

To find out more about the way we handle fees (both legal aid public funding and private fees) for driving without due care and attention, please use the links provided below:

Contact our criminal defence lawyers today

If you are due to attend the police station, require any urgent specialist advice, or immediate representation for driving without due care and attention, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

Or email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you quickly.

24/7 legal representation for driving without due care and attention

Please get in touch for a free consultation with one of our expert criminal defence solicitors, as well as immediate representation and advice for driving without due care and attention.

We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Number at 07836 577 556.

Bespoke Private Fee Service

If you believe your case is likely to have serious consequences for you now, or in the future and you have the means to pay for this service

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Do we offer free consultations? 

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How can we help?

Common questions

We always work with the most experienced and best leading UK barristers, KCs (Kings Counsel). We cover all criminal cases 24/7 at the police station and court. Offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester cover cases across England and Wales. We can offer Legal Aid and affordable Private fee agreements. We can see you the same day, including virtually. Our Senior Partners supervise all of our cases.

How quickly do you respond?

We respond quickly even during out of hours. We do not get our work by paying for online adverts but based on the fact that few criminal law firms can match our 45 years of experience. Most of our cases are still from word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied clients. We are called daily by dissatisfied clients from firms with less experience than us. We respond very quickly to new enquiries. We know what clients seek and so we update clients rapidly.

Can you get cases dropped?

Yes, read about the recent cases we've helped our clients with here.

We always keep you updated and give straightforward advice. We will get cases dropped early where the case is weak or should not be prosecuted. We will be upfront with you about where you can benefit from a good result with an early guilty plea, such as a discount on your sentence. As we work on cases across all levels with clients from all walks of life, we are excellent at giving clear, spot-on advice. As an established firm, we can allocate a whole team to your case often at short notice to secure evidence to minimise the damage to you. 

Have you won any awards?


"JD Spicer Zeb demonstrated a clear commitment to client service through their work with vulnerable and diverse individuals in what can be severely traumatic circumstances".

Do you offer free consultations?

Where it is possible, we aim to provide an initial consultation to you. If we can speak to you, we can if required inform you about  –

  • Whether we can take the case on and our relevant experience.
  • Public and private funding benefits.
  • Assistance in applying for legal aid where we are likely to accept instructions.
  • An outline of options in police interview only. We will not advise you on which option to adopt.
  • Providing our free written guide explaining the police station process.
  • The gravity of routine and day-to-day offences you face.
  • Consequences of not attending the court or police station.
  • Consequences of interfering with any witnesses.
  • Retaining any evidence in support of your case.
  • If possible an outline of the elements of the offence that the police or CPS must prove.
  • This consultation will normally be by telephone or email and will only be for as long as we deem necessary to establish if we can act for you. If we cannot usefully give you any advice in this manner then we will not continue with the consultation. We will not discuss the case in depth for you to be able to decide on your plea or any significant aspect of the case, as this cannot be undertaken informally.
  • Referring you, if possible, to other firms for matters out of our specialism or if we cannot help.

Consultations do not apply to the following cases –

  • If we do not intend to take the case on.
  • Road Traffic cases, drink driving, drug driving, driving bans, speeding, no insurance, mobile phone use, points etc.
  • In all cases where we do not have the capacity to take your case or the availability of suitably qualified staff to provide an initial free consultation. This is applicable in all cases but especially where a more senior lawyer is required because of your personal needs or the complexity of the case.
  • Harassment/stalking/ coercive behaviour/malicious communications or road traffic cases and most sensitive cases. These cases are often too complicated to assess in short consultations.
  • The locations concerned may be too distant to represent you adequately or it may not be cost-effective for you or us.
  • The case is too complicated to assess or raises various charges or facts, complexity, or history to be considered informally or in a short consultation.
  • In most Legal aid transfers where legal aid is granted to another firm except in very grave cases, we may assess the case and merits for a transfer.
  • If your relationship has broken down with your existing solicitor or several solicitors.
  • If you have been released under investigation and have already had a police station attendance. 
  • If you hold legal aid with another firm and seek a second opinion.
  • If you are calling on behalf of the client as a friend or family member unless you have full authority and full facts.
  • To businesses.
  • Advising whether you were given good advice by your other solicitor.
  • Whether to decide to plead guilty or not guilty.
  • Whether you have an arguable defence in law or factually complicated defences.
  • Any advice you have had after your first court appearance.
  • Any advice on appeal on conviction or sentence.
  • If we feel we are unable to communicate with you.
  • If we are likely to be conflicted or breach our professional rules.